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Theft of the French Crown Jewels
The Thieves

The various political factions in France in 1792 blamed each other for the theft of the French Crown Jewels. One of the more popular theories of the time alleged that Georges-Jacques Danton, a member of the French Convention Nationale, hired thieves to carry out the theft in order to purchase the withdrawal of the Duke of Brunswick's army from France. Though there was no proof of Danton's involvement, the theory gained wide support because it coincided with the opinion of Napoleon, who could not understand why the allied armies would retreat unless a secret deal was involved.

Historians have concluded that Danton was probably not involved with the theft. In 1889, Germaine Bapst argued in the Histoire des joyaux de la couronne that the culprits were bands of vagrants who were encouraged by the lack of order in the national guard and had no connection to any of the political factions of the French Revolution (Morel 1988).

Photo ID P 712
Source © Musée Carnavalet/Roger-Viollet

Portrait of Georges-Jacques Danton (1759-1794). Danton was wrongly accused of orchestrating the theft of the French Crown jewels.

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